A Cowboy’s Faith: Toxic applications deserve awareness

buchmanhead“That’s poison you’re putting on your horse.”

There was alarm when somebody said that to us sometime back. Sure enough right, if the insecticide spray everybody seems to apply to horses and other livestock on a regular basis is doing its intended job, killing flies and body pests, it is poison.

Few people think about that, less probably comprehend what it means. Poison kills, and it’s a hazardous chemical that should be handled cautiously.

Yet, we see folks spraying their horses until soaking in the pesticide. There was even a woman over the weekend who sprayed the noxious substance on her own hands and spread it around her horse’s eyes and muzzle.

She probably didn’t have any flies bothering her either, but without a thought, the horsewoman picked up a hamburger and consumed it completely.

When the cowgirl rode off on her horse, we went over and picked up the quart fly spray bottle that still had a $25 price sticker attached, and read the boldfaced “caution” information.

“Causes substantial, but temporary eye injury. Harmful if swallowed, or absorbed through the skin. Avoid contact with skin, eyes or clothing. Wear goggles, face shield or safety glasses. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling. Do not contaminate feed or food.”

Obviously, that warning was ignored. Yet, people wonder why there are so many illnesses.

Our decision had been to never apply bug sprays to horses, but rather let them fend for themselves.

Yet, in order to win at horseshows, a horse cannot be swishing their tail, shaking their head and stomping feet when flies land. It’s hard to understand how such a small thing can be so agitating to a big animal, but one fly can literally drive a horse crazy.

Staying over at the horseshow, our horses tied to the trailer were stomping all night. When we checked at dawn, the entire right side of one mare’s neck was large welts, hundreds of evidently mosquito bites.

Probably wrong, we sprayed poison on our horses, too, but we know and are concerned about the hazards involved.

Reminds us of Jeremiah 8:17: “Poison kills, and can kill you.” So, Matthew 10:16: “Stay alert. This is hazardous.” Thus, Hebrews 12:25: “Do not refuse to listen and heed to warnings.” And, Deuteronomy 6:10: “Caution against disobedience.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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